Serving Diverse Patrons

Resources for libraries

January 4, 2021

Librarian's Library by Anna Gooding-Call

Librarians Serving Diverse Populations: Challenges and OpportunitiesLibrarians Serving Diverse Populations: Challenges and Opportunities
By Lori Mestre
Librarians seeking or inhabiting professional diversity roles will find this title a valuable resource. Focused on academic libraries, the book bases its conclusions on a study of 25 academic respondents to a comprehensive survey on diversity. Methodology and materials are included, along with several responses by librarians from underrepresented backgrounds. These responses are perhaps the most valuable part of the book. As the author indicates, many librarians work in institutions that either have no diversity focus or do not provide training for their diversity positions. This book is a good starting point not only for librarians tasked with improving their institutions’ diversity outlook but also for librarians who want to take on that job for themselves. ACRL, 2010. 232 P. $54. PBK. 978-0-8389-8512-0. (Also available as an ebook.)

Engaging Diverse Learners: Teaching Strategies for Academic LibrariansEngaging Diverse Learners: Teaching Strategies for Academic Librarians
By Mark Aaron Pogler and Scott Sheidlower
Targeted at academic libraries, this book focuses on the problem of student distraction. Its most useful section looks at missteps in classroom engagement and offers ways to combat them using informed strategies and experiential learning. In terms of addressing diversity, the book is strongest when explaining the need for safe classroom spaces, free from sexism and homophobia. The concept of meeting learners on their own cultural territory is presented in the context of engaging students whose positive associations are with Black cultural structures and cues. The book’s grounded, common-sense advice makes it a good introductory text for academic librarians venturing into instruction or attempting to improve their pedagogy. Libraries Unlimited, 2017. 186 P. $60. PBK. 978-1-4408-3850-7. (Also available as an ebook.)

Information Literacy for Today’s Diverse Students: Differentiated Instructional Techniques for Academic LibrariansInformation Literacy for Today’s Diverse Students: Differentiated Instructional Techniques for Academic Librarians
By Alex Berrio Matamoros
Learning styles can vary according to cultural norms. This book presents teaching techniques for information literacy instructors whose students have backgrounds that predispose them to certain learning styles. Fortunately, the book doesn’t linger on specific cultural differences; assigning blanket learning characteristics to cultures is problematic and would be better explored in a more complex work. Because cultural diversity is presented as a good reason to implement the book’s pedagogical strategy, it would be disingenuous to say Information Literacy is primarily about diversity. The book should be taken for what it is: a resource for using differentiated learning with students who have a variety of learning styles. Libraries Unlimited, 2018. 159 P. $75. PBK. 978-1-4408-6207-6. (Also available as an ebook.)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Planning, Leadership, and Programming in ActionDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Planning, Leadership, and Programming in Action
Edited by Christine Bombaro
These 10 essays present a range of perspectives on improving diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in academic libraries. Each essay offers an initiative for fostering diversity, plus a discussion of outcomes. For the most part, the essays focus on the library’s ability to serve, support, and boost minority and marginalized communities, including racial minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, veterans reentering civilian life, and first-generation college students. One of the most interesting essays addresses medical bias. Thanks to its unique perspective on medical racism in literature, libraries, and medical schools, this essay is essential reading for anyone who works at a medical school or hospital. ALA Editions, 2020. 208 P. $67.99. PBK. 978-0-8389-4759-3. (Also available as an ebook.)

Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Story: Authentic Folktales and Discussion GuidesSupporting Diversity and Inclusion with Story: Authentic Folktales and Discussion Guides
Edited by Lyn Ford and Sherry Norfolk
This engaging book comprises folktales from around the world, along with references, commentary, and notes on their tellers. In contrast to the scholarly discussion of diversity in libraries, it provides a hands-on approach to cultural education. Both school and public children’s librarians will find this a valuable resource—and depending on your community, it may inspire adult programming as well. It presents a nuanced perspective on the importance of story in fostering cultural competency and advice on effective storytelling. Examples range from the abstract, including an awareness of current politics, to the specific, such as not affecting a character’s accent while reading. Highly recommended. Libraries Unlimited, 2020, 126 P. $45. PBK. 978-1-4408-6707-1. (Also available as an ebook.)

Social Justice and Cultural Competency: Essential Readings for School LibrariansSocial Justice and Cultural Competency: Essential Readings for School Librarians
Edited by Marcia A. Mardis and Dianne Oberg
This collection, focused on K–12 school librarianship, gathers articles previously published in School Libraries Worldwide. The articles are grouped by theme: social justice, cultural competency, and innovative practice. Instead of focusing on diversity buzzwords, the book encourages an active and progressive approach for librarians and educators. In the book’s introduction, Mardis and Oberg state their goal: encouraging ongoing development in cultural competency rather than a one-time professional development exercise. Librarians seeking to expand their pedagogy to better assist underserved student populations would do well to explore this trove of good advice and innovation. Libraries Unlimited, 2019. 178 P. $50. PBK. 978-1-4408-7120-7. (Also available as an ebook.)


Librarian's Library by Anna Gooding-Call

Digital Strategies for Librarians

Guides for managing patrons’ evolving tech needs

Librarian's Library by Anna Gooding-Call

Disasters in Libraries

Books to help you prepare